Georgia Town Holds First Integrated Prom

For the past 31 springs, the Taylor County High School student body headed off to separate proms: one for the black students, another for the white students.

But this year, students in the rural Georgia community will celebrate this high school rite of passage together.

After desegregation, the school stopped organizing the prom, leaving that event up to students and parents in this rural county of 8,800 between Columbus and Macon, Ga. For the past three decades, the parents and students arranged for separate proms for black and white students.

This year, Taylor County High School junior Gerica McCrary, who is black, asked her fellow students to do the right thing, and vote to hold one prom for students of all races.

Public schools in the rural south ignored federal orders to de-segregate for years, and in some cases, did so for decades. Taylor County High School did not allow blacks and whites to sit in the same classrooms until 16 years after the 1954 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Brown vs. The Board of Education, which declared segregated schools unconstitutional.

Taylor County has 420 students, 226 of whom are black. Nearly 75 percent of the school's juniors and seniors supported McCrary's proposal to have one prom.